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April 2021

Who is going to be available for the game against Palace?

By Tony Attwood

A while back I did a review of who we might have back in harness by the start of the new season.  Now that we know that England and Spain are dropping out at the end of the group stages we can get a slightly better feel of who might be available, so I thought I would come back to this topic again.

We get into the serious football again at the start of August.   The Emirates Cup at the start of the month is a time when players are still getting fit, so that’s no so much of a concern, but we might expect to put out a team of fit players for the Community Shield on 10 August, and absolutely must be ready for Palace on 16 August.

So, assuming it takes players a month of training to get up to match fitness after a summer break of a couple of weeks, that means we need to have them training with Arsenal by 10 July, and that means that even the England and Spain players are going to be struggling for that.  Indeed even 16 August, might be too early, although needs must, and so we might well be force to have the players who have returned after the group stages back by then.

Including the Spain and England players for that first match against Palace we might have…

Goal: Szczesny, Martinez

Defence: Monreal, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Bellerin, Hayden, Coquelin

Midfield: Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, Flamini, Diaby, Eisfeld, Zelalem, Olsson

Attack: Sanogo, Ryo, Cazorla, Gnabry, Akpom, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Coquelin is included because he is certainly still our player, but was out on loan last season – something that surprised me, as I thought he would be in the first team squad.

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He played 16 games for Freiburg last season, and gained an amazing 43 caps for France at under 17 to under 21 level.  He is not a central defender, and is more of a defensive midfield or right back player, but he could be drafted in as a central defender in an emergency.

The midfield and goal look ok, but central defence is inexperienced and it is a lot to throw on Sanogo – although maybe he’s developed even further this summer so could cope.

The missing players are

  • Defence: Mert, Vemaelen, Kos
  • Midfield: Ozil
  • Attack: Podolski, Giroud, Walcott

Theo Walcott might be back sooner; there has been nothing made public about his recovery for a while so it is possible that he will be ready for the Palace game – but as can be seen from above, we really do need one or better two of our central defenders back for that match.  However that seems very unlikely.

The only other ways out of the situation are to buy someone who is not involved in the world cup, or play Arteta and Wilshere (protecting the defence) behind Rosicky and Ramsey, or Ramsey and Diaby, with a forward line of Ox, Sanogo and Cazorla.

Of course we might lose a player or two before then.  There are talks of Vermaelen to Man U (the Telegraph did an exclusive saying he had signed, and then four days later the man himself said “rubbish”), Cazorla having recently signed a contract is supposed to be off to A Madrid on the grounds that he said he was friends with some of the players, and the Zelalem story which has been around for a year or so, about him becoming a USA citizen, is also back on the agenda.

The point about this latter story is that if Zelalem were to be American he would lose his right to work in the UK (he is currently an EU citizen), and we’d have to apply for a work permit, which might well not be forthcoming, so we’d have to loan him out to Spain for two years so he can get nationality there.  The US might however grant him dual nationality – I don’t know what their rules are on that, but they could do it through “exceptional circumstances” because of his footballing talent.

Anyway, central defence is the issue, so we either need our youngsters to come up with the goods, or buy a player who is a central defender who is either from a country not in the world cup, or a player not selected for his country’s Brazil squad.

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24 comments to Who is going to be available for the game against Palace?

  • TheSKAGooner

    Hey Tony – I think you missed Joel Campbell as one of the attacking options that will probably be short for the Palace match. His national team, Costa Rica, are already through to the knockout stages, so he’ll be busy for some time yet. And it does appear that Arsene does want to bring him into the side this year (especially since his work permit has been granted).

    So, add one more player to the list if you will. 🙂

  • nicky

    On reading your list of players, I immediately recalled my great Uncle Eli’s story (handed down in my family) of the Duke of Wellington reviewing his troops on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. (Eli happened to be standing by him at the time, holding his horse).
    The Duke addressed his men and said “I don’t know what effect you will have on the enemy, but my
    God you frighten me”.

  • Ogban

    This is what idleness can do. Just allow the mind to roam and imagine things!

  • nicky

    For those students of history, although the Battle took place in 1815, by coincidence our Eli recorded in his diary, that the battle actually started at a quarter past 6. 😉

  • L

    The dual nationality issue lies with Germany. Whilst Germany allows dual nationality in some cases (born with nationalities- one from each parent), Zelalem’s situation doesn’t seem to fit into that category. Apparently you can apply for permission, but I don’t see why Germany would grant it.

  • oldgroover

    I would assume that the French players will also be late returnees as Arsene usually gives tournament players (who’ve gone the distance) extra time off to rest up & have a proper holiday before rejoining the squad. I think we’re the only Premier League side that does this.

  • oldgroover

    Sorry didn’t see them in your list.

  • Mick

    Congratulations to our BFG for attaining his 100th Germany cap tonight. Not bad for someone written off as crap by our media experts. They would have had us get Cahill rather than Per. I know who I would rather have!

  • bjtgooner

    Tony, you are painting a rather worrying picture at this stage, midfield looks OK but we look thin on the ground in attack and very weak in central defense.

    When are the CL qualifying matches?

  • Valentin

    Zelalem case is a special case. His US citizenship application is as a child of somebody applying for US citizenship. If his father gets US citizenship before Zelalem 18th birthday, he is then automatically granted US citizenship. As the German law does not allow to withdraw German citizenship for minor (only exceptional circumstances), he would then have both nationalities: German and US.
    That means that he will be able to represent the US, while still benefiting from the German citizenship and be allowed to work in UK without a work permit.
    Semi Ajayi will likely playing centre half. I think that Ignasi Miquel would also be available. His contract expires at the end of June 2015, but it may also expire at the end of June 2014.
    Some of the U19 may be missing for cause of international competition.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Mind over matter ? Just because someone brought it up !

  • Blacksheep63

    Tony, I think it’s most unlikely that Wenger will approach the CL qualifiers and first home game without at least some semblance of his first choice back for. So unless they come back injured I’d expected a BFG/Kos axis to start

  • jayramfootball

    I really can’t understand this article at all. Why would the players not be ready for mid August? Why would they need to get match fit? They will have just spent a whole summer playing! Even players that get to the world cup final will have a FULL month of holidays and light training in prep for the Charity Shield. I despair sometimes at the way fans have just fallen into a new way of thinking that pampers players to a ridiculous degree. Arsenal pay their wages! If they can’t report back to play in the Charity Shield they should be fined all their wages.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hear TV injured for Begluim today….anyone know,if it’s bad? With his recent recouped, you always fear the worst

  • bjtgooner


    Have heard 2 stories about the TV injury, initially a hamstring, later described as a knee injury. Sorry I can’t help further.

  • oldgroover

    TV injury didn’t look that bad to tell the truth. It wasn’t an impact one (as far as I could see) , he was on the move, turned, put his hand up and went off. Didn’t hold his leg, or limp or show any signs of injury. In fact now that I remember he played on for a while after signalling to the bench, so I would say nothing serious.

  • jayramfootball @8.13pm,

    Agree with you totally but you need to sympathise with Tony and other fans site bloggers. At this time of the year, they have little to nothing to write about. It’s not for naught all we read about is transfer speculations and panicky stuff like this article.

    For one, I am not worried at all about the world cup as long as the players are not injured. Those whose country go far might skip some of the pre-season games but like you, I see no reason why any player would not be ready by mid August.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Fingers crossed on TV Old Groover, hope we can keep him and give him games, Per and to a lesser extent Kos have played a lot of games this season. That will catch up with them, and we will need quality replacements, especially with Bacs departure.

  • Gord

    One blurb about hamstring Mandy, article probably not in English (La Standard?). I think Mandy has brought this name up before, how about Chris Samba on loan for a month or two?

  • oldgroover

    Turns out TV injured himself in the pre match warm up. I’ve seen that happen once or twice or three times.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Vermaelen has a muscular injury it seems according to Belgian press

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ok update on Vermaelen:

    during the warm up there was a knee against knee incident that was just painful and had no influence on the later injury which was a hamstring injury. He also had a big bump after a head to head clash with a Russian player.
    So not the best of days for Vermaelen….

  • Mandy Dodd

    Does not have much luck our Vermaelen, especially in warm ups this season! Still hope we can keep him, maybe our new injury guru and the findings of the clubs injury review can help him out.
    You have a good memory Gord….Chris Samba, seems like no time since the media and AAA had him as the answer to all our defensive woes. Luckily, we have a manager who recognises the merits of defenders who can actually play the ball out from the back, as opposed to a guy only really cabable of playing the ball out into row Z from any given situation. Seem to remember they also wanted us to get Scott Dann. Think I will settle for BFG, Kos and hopefully a fully fit and firing on all cylinders TV, especially in games where we can attack freely